I wish you all could see what is going on behind the scenes to bring the Savannah Food and Wine Festival to this city in November.
We've talked about it before, but by the time the lights come up on night No. 1, this truly will have gone from idea to reality in, what, nine months? Anyone who puts on major events will tell you that is impossible. It will happen and it's going to be great.
The reason why is very simple: Tons of people are chipping in to do their part to help put great food in this city on the map. I chuckle whenever I get emails at 6:15 a.m. about this issue or that. It really doesn't matter, either. Crack of dawn? Saturday night, 8 p.m., anywhere in between.
Dozens of people in the area are communicating, working on logistics, drawing plans on marker boards, holding meetings. It's all happening around you. Jan Gourley and Michael Owens at TLC deserve a major high-five for getting us to this point. The best is yet to come.
â€¢ Spotted? We aren't that much of a celebrity town when it comes to spotting people eating out. I mentioned last week that Ben Affleck had popped into Betty Bombers off Forsyth Park. Meg Ryan (my high school crush) was spotted, oh, a couple of months ago.
You hear rumors all the time that someone was seen doing this or that in Savannah. Try this one on for size: My friend Jennifer had a celebrity sighting of her own last week at Love's Seafood on U.S. 17, of all places. Do you remember Rick Ocasek of The Cars? Well, he and his wife, former supermodel Paulina Porizkova, were enjoying dinner at Love's a few days ago with their two children.
"He looked just like he did in the '80s," Jennifer said. "I was the only one there who knew who they were." Gee, I wonder who's gonna drive them home?
â€¢ Closed: Remember Brick House BBQ on MLK (in the old Blowin' Smoke location)? Within months, changed their name to B's. Then to Bamalam something something? They've closed. If my memory serves, they opened around first week of March. I wonder if that is a record?
â€¢ Soon to open: The guys at FORM have gotten the green light from the city to set up their new shop down La Roche Avenue in Savannah. In just three short years, the guys responsible for this city's best cheesecake have put themselves in position to expand dramatically. They have a decent-sized account with the new Whole Foods that is opening next month, so you'll be able to buy the cheesecakes there. But that's not all. They take great pride in the cakes, of course, but they also are doing an amazing job with catered events and wine dinners. The new restaurant will be perfect for the Isle of Hope and Landings crowds to get some great eats without coming into town. The current location will remain on Habersham and 33rd and operate as something of a satellite. More on that as they get closer to a September opening.
â€¢ Had lunch at B. Tillman last week. Love their menu. Haven't gotten to dinner yet, but I will very soon. I was tempted by the entire lunch menu, including the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with braised pork and sage brown butter. I passed on that only to have the burger. You know me and my burgers. Homemade brioche bun, fried green tomato and pimento cheese. It was spectacular. Be warned, it's $17. Frankly, that's a bit much for a burger. It was $14 last time I was in there. The other prices are more than reasonable, as is the wine list. Love that spot.
â€¢ Speaking of B. Tillman: They are the latest to join the list of new businesses on the ground floor of Drayton Tower. The Beer Growler is growling away. B. Tillman is bringing some of the Byrd Cookie success to Liberty Street. I am told there will be a full bar and small plates. Should be open this week with a grand opening Aug. 1.
"Eat it and Like it"
Jesse Blanco is a veteran TV news anchor whose real passion is food -- both cooking and eating. You can watch his "Eat It and Like It" TV shows on SGTV and YouTube.Follow @eatitandlikeit
â€¢ Enjoyed a great visit with my friends at All Things Chocolate in Richmond Hill this weekend. You may remember them from our chocolate episode of "Eat It and Like It" once upon a time. Well, they are growing and expanding. Work continues on their new facility on Ga. 144, much closer to U.S. 17. Right now, they are in the Publix shopping center down a ways in Richmond Hill. Regardless of where they are, it's all worth the drive - especially their homemade cannoli. Yes, they are top-shelf. Lovely Italian family from New Jersey (not sure what exit). Amazing. And, of course, the "Hot Mess" chocolate - dark or milk - with pretzels, potato chips and nuts all rolled in and chilled. Oh. Em. Gee.
â€¢ How do I keep from weighing 500 pounds, they ask. Big shout-out to Drew and Shazi Edmonds at Train Me 24/7. They have 6 a.m. boot camps going this summer (you won't see me there, HA!) and now some in the evening. Give 'em a look at bootcampfitsavannah.com.
â€¢ So, I had an incident with breakfast the other day. Insects, gravy? A thousand ironies with that story. Not the least of which was the fact that I was wearing a T-shirt that said eatiitandlikeit.com on the back. Now, that certainly doesn't ring a bell with everyone, of course. But of all the people to drop a plate with a bug on it in front of ... oopsie. Read all about it right now at eatitandlikeit.com.
â€¢ Finally, I feel confident enough to share some numbers with you. We are pretty sure Season 3 of "Eat It and Like It" will premiere on WSAV at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 22. There will be reruns during the week, but those details haven't been finalized yet. I will keep you posted or you can follow along for up-to-the-minute info on Twitter @eatitandlikeit and Facebook.
See you on TV.